Finding Your Niche

This article is about finding out what sort of instrument you are suited to play and what style of music would suit you.

Finding Your Niche
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Know your Place Lots of people jump into playing an instrument without thinking whether it suits them and a lot of people then decide what style of music they think they should play and don't consider what they want to play or how they want to play it. This article is for finding your ideal instrument and what style of music you should play. Firstly you have to choose your instrument; it has to be one that you're interested in and, not wanting to crush any dreams, it's probably a good idea for you to understand what your limits are and what you can and can't play. So, let's say you are a singer, people can sing to varying degrees and half of it is confidence. You can sing well enough to be a soloist but you might not have the confidence. Then maybe you should be a backing singer until you're ready for the limelight. Singing can also require a really big stage presence, reacting to the audience and not looking nervous are large factors in live performances and you don't want to make your first show your last. As I have said singing is about both confidence and talent so be careful what you wish for. If you're not a big singer then the other instruments have to be separated into genres for you to select from, Classical and Modern. These are two base genres that I have made up for these circumstances; Classical will have all the Woodwind, some Strings, Piano and some Percussion. Modern will contain the remainder, Guitars, Bass, Drums, and Keyboard etc. There are so many varieties in each that it does not matter which you choose so if you prefer Modern then skip the next section. Classical Music is one of the most complex genres as it requires a huge orchestra of musicians to compile a song in a perfect harmony of semi-quavers and minims. If you are particularly dextrous then it's likely that you should choose a stringed instrument or a woodwind one. If you have a good rhythm then percussion is ideal, of course also choose what you want to play if you have a knack for both or neither. When selecting a stringed instrument it's important to understand that all are equally important and that your pitch is individual to you. The lowest being the double bass (Which can also be used in playing Jazz when plucked), which is a personal favourite, ranging up to the Violin and Viola. The latter require quite small fingers as the strings are closely spaced and the instrument is fretless. The harp is one of the most unorthodox instruments as it has the most strings in the orchestra and there is rarely more than two. This is a very complex instrument to play and I have never personally tried but it does make one of the most beautiful sounds. Percussion is a great instrumental genre as it binds the entire orchestra and ranges from the easy to the complex. It is ideal for people who like to make loud noises and it is a really fun instrument to play. This sort of music has a large range of techniques involved and choosing which instrument can be difficult but keep reading for the Modern part. Much of today's music is compiled with many different instruments and some of which are electric or computer composed, also please note that these instruments are not necessarily used to play modern music it was only a general stereotype. I am only looking at real instruments. Within this field it's important to decide if prefer a front stage or back stage role. Those with more vigour, flamboyance and confidence are suited to this. One such role is the lead guitar, it is very difficult to play lead and stay in the shadows, if you don't like being in the spot light then it's best to form your own style, sometimes just standing and playing with a solemn look on your face can work. Also it requires a certain feel of rhythm and dexterity to play it well. The piano is also a rather foreground instrument and has a wide versatility to what genres of music it can play. Blues and Jazz have a very large piano or keyboard section incorporated into them. My personal favourite instrument is the bass guitar as its set a little back from the crowd but requires just as much talent and determination as any other instrument. Having a good rhythm and timing is essential when playing this instrument as well as playing the drums as it is these instruments that steady and form the basis to the rest of the band. Going onto the drums they are probably the most fun and exciting instrument to play and are relatively easy to start playing and are perfect if you don't want to be seen at all, also needing talent and determination once the higher levels are achieved it is a very satisfying instrument to learn. This section was not included in my two broad genres and it involves several unorthodox instruments that people enjoy playing. Firstly I am going to talk about the Banjo, a very interesting instrument that, like a bass, comes in four and five string varieties. It requires a good rhythm be able to play and is normally played at a very fast tempo. Its roots in America it has a country theme to its sound and is rarely used in any genre besides that. The next odd instrument is the Stylophone, a novelty instrument that has electric sounds which has been popular for 20 to 30 years. And finally the accordion, this is an instrument which I have played and it has a great appeal to me because of its versatility and timbre. A woodwind instrument that incorporates piano and it makes the most amazing, penetrating, deep sound. This final section is about choosing your niche in music, it's first of all important to choose somewhere that your instrument fits and also to try to give yourself a little space by choosing a genre that isn't too overloaded with bands already. If you are only able to fit in one of these then maybe try having a different approach to how you play, using alternate timbres to everybody else or using an entirely different musical range. Let's start with Metal, there are for 4 different styles but we'll stick it under one big subheading. It has a very select audience usually between the ages of 14 and 24 years old, the singing is surprisingly tuneful apart from death metal which involves lots of screaming and shouting. The guitar and bass are usually very complex and fast and often the bass will have an extra low B to play with. Drums are by far the loudest instrument and played at tempos between 260 and 290. Lyrics usually include vulgar topics, religious persecution and death. Country has one of the slowest tempos and is mostly played with an acoustic instrument, often a purely instrumental style of music and ranges from beginner to complex playing. Only popular with a very small number of people it originated from Central America and remains popular there. Rock is a very popular type of music and possibly on of the largest genres to be played, it can manifest itself in many forms and has a huge range of tempos, difficulties and instruments. To put a comparison between Queen and Green Day is just odd, they are both Rock but sound entirely different, much of this genre is based upon the lyrics which contain everything from Political Statements to Confessing Love for a Stranger, drugs to Anger management issues. The list goes on. It is quite hard to put a label on whether you should play it or not and that's why it good to experiment with different genres. There are other genres but most are just branches of the ones I stated earlier, I hope that this article has given firstly an insight in to music, and secondly what you want to achieve musically.

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    AlanHB
    Wow what a great article on how to limit the instruments you can play and what genres you can play. It makes lots of interesting points like: - Country is one of the least popular genres, and is largely instrumental. I never knew this. - Classical music requires a huge orchestra to play. Even classical guitarists need a string orchestra. - But there are no classical guitarists because guitar is a modern instrument, not a classical one. - There is no piano in modern music, as it is a classical instrument. Great read! I learnt a lot.
    AlanHB
    My favourite part is where country music originated from Central America. You know Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica? That's where country music came from. Obviously not intentional, but that's Central America. You probably meant certain states in the US. But ignoring all other points, if your advice is to be followed it would stop people from playing multiple instruments or exploring other styles. It also encourages people to ditch an instrument if they don't feel naturally gifted on it. Most of us don't at first, so we practice and take lessons until we get better. Basically I don't think this article contains very good advice, and also makes a number of claims that aren't factually true.
    Minivirus2
    Metal, there are for 4 different styles but well stick it under one big subheading. It has a very select audience usually between the ages of 14 and 24 years old
    Because nobody who liked metal pre-1988 enjoys it anymore and come your 25th birthday you instantly develop an ear for more "mature" genres. Honestly, if you go to a Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Metallica concert, the average age probably sits somewhere around 30+.
    Simper-Yut
    The banjo is also seen in folk rock..i.e. Mumford & Sons. This article reads like a 5th grade essay. Honestly, it is that bad. I think what you fail to realize is that you aren't speaking to a naive friend with little to no knowledge of music besides what he hears on the radio...but an actual community of musicians of all shapes and sizes. While it may have been your desire to impress everyone with how well informed you are, the reality is you only proved your lack of even the slightest understanding of what music is about. What you just achieved here is the equivalent of someone with a HIghschool G.E.D. walking into a room full of brain surgeons and telling them how to operate on a patient. Hint: you're the one with the G.E.D. My impression after skimming over this article is that I don't see how it could be possible that you've been playing instrument more than a year. Otherwise, how else could this travesty have happened? You're likely a young kid who just picked up the bass (since thats' what you apparently prefer to play) and now feel a sense of empowerment and calling to let everyone know how awesome you are because of your new found investment in music. I could be wrong, but I suspect anyone with plenty of experience as a musician would not have let this kind of ignorance be posted unless it was intended to be a practical joke.
    Leybick
    In his defense, the author is an accordion player and there are only 4 styles of accordion metal. That is set in stone.
    theogonia777
    You know what, I should probably explain my post a little bit. 1. What exactly (other than the 5th drone string) makes the banjo unorthodox? 2. You could explain a little bit about the difference between a 4 and 5 string banjo, since (in terms of playing) they are almost completely different. 3. It's roots are most certainly not in America. The banjo evolved from African folk instruments that have existed for hundreds of years, long before America was even a country. The earliest banjos dated back to the Caribbean islands in the 17th, complete with fingerboards and tuning pegs. 4. Country theme to it's sound? What's that even supposed to mean? And like I said, the instrument has existed for hundreds of years, long before country existed. Saying that it had an old time music sound would be alright, but not country. 5. Rarely used in other genres besides country? Five string banjo is incredibly prominent in both bluegrass and old time music, to the point where you would be hard pressed to name a band that plays either of those genres without a banjo player, with Nickel Creek being the only one that comes to mind. The five string is also very common in Western and Cajun music. The four string banjo was an integral part of many early 20th century jazz rhythm sections before the guitar became common, and is still very popular in contemporary Dixieland and Chicago jazz bands. The four string also plays a large role in many Celtic bands, whether it is traditional folk music or Celtic fusion. Banjo is also very common among indie/alternative rock musicians today such as Sufjan Stevens, Isaac Brock (of Modest Mouse fame), and even Zooey Deschanel. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the whole article, that just being one example. You obviously did no research for this article and in fact don't really have the slightest idea as to what you are talking about as far as most of the topics here are concerned. You probably didn't read it over either, since there are tons of errors and very awkward wording, which would have been extremely apparent if you read them out loud.
    captainsnazz
    This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on UG, and that really is saying something.
    Danjo's Guitar
    I like how the mod is even trolling you, haha. And theogonia, I bet you're a banjo player aren't you. Oh, you're a newly joined member. That explains everything. Funny, I've never had the inclination to post an article. I kinda hope I don't. Not to harsh on you too much, but its important to learn that, especially on the internet, just because you can talk doesn't mean you should. (Seriously, more often then not I'll type a comment or something, think about it, and then just delete it. It keeps you from looking dumb.)
    Moy_cobrafob
    s'more wrote: Hi, I wrote this article and I apologise to anyone who reads it as there some discrepancies between what intended the message to be and what the message actually reads. The apparent message being don't try if you think you can't I want everyone to disregard that entirely and leave your choice in what instrument you want play entirely up to you, what I meant to deliver was a brief synopsis of what sort of instrument might suit you, and my geographical error was definitely not intentional as I had some mad recollection of the southern American states being central america not southern north america, again my apologies.
    I don't know if I can play piano.. SO it's not worth trying. What a bunch of nonsense, if you want to learn something the learn it.
    pain-killer
    Your incredibly detailed description of metal has opened my eyes and now I no longer enjoy any of the four styles. Guess since I'm not amazing at lead guitar I should just drop guitar all together and stop playing metal too.
    Floyd Forever
    Hi, I wrote this article and I apologise to anyone who reads it as there some discrepancies between what intended the message to be and what the message actually reads. The apparent message being don't try if you think you can't I want everyone to disregard that entirely and leave your choice in what instrument you want play entirely up to you, what I meant to deliver was a brief synopsis of what sort of instrument might suit you, and my geographical error was definitely not intentional as I had some mad recollection of the southern American states being central america not southern north america, again my apologies.
    s'more
    Hi, I wrote this article and I apologise to anyone who reads it as there some discrepancies between what intended the message to be and what the message actually reads. The apparent message being don't try if you think you can't I want everyone to disregard that entirely and leave your choice in what instrument you want play entirely up to you, what I meant to deliver was a brief synopsis of what sort of instrument might suit you, and my geographical error was definitely not intentional as I had some mad recollection of the southern American states being central america not southern north america, again my apologies.
    Floyd Forever
    Hi, there are some discrepancies in the article such as some people have misunderstood the fact that the genres I have put the instruments into are not set in stone, it was made only so I could take them a chunk at a time and I did forget to put this in the beginning but it is mentioned in lines 2 and 3 in the sixth paragraph, and obviously it is impossible to get every instrument on the article and to place every instrument into one genre, it was just to make the article manageable, and i am sorry for any accidental missunderstanding of me saying that country isn't popular i love country personally i was simply stating that it has a smaller target audience and from my environment more people prefer the music that is more accessible to them, that mainly being pop.
    gypsyblues7373
    The ignorance in this article is astounding.
    Lets start with Metal, there are for 4 different styles but well stick it under one big subheading. It has a very select audience usually between the ages of 14 and 24 years old
    That has to be one of the dumbest, most uninformed statements I've ever read. It's like something an alien who has only been on earth for a week might say.
    This final section is about choosing your niche in music
    I thought that's what the entire article was supposed to be about?? Way to go far off subject there.
    henrihell
    Well yeah... I'm into metal and I'm not shy to be in the spotlight as far as I know... My main instrument is bass, so you mean I'm not seen a lot? I also play rhythm guitar and drums, so I'm really in the back all the time oh yeah, and how does mandolin fit my style of music? After reading this article I think I should quit all these instruments and take the lead guitar or singer part... Although I can't sing, but I'm a decent growler...
    jebbe9696
    Moy_cobrafob wrote: s'more wrote: Hi, I wrote this article and I apologise to anyone who reads it as there some discrepancies between what intended the message to be and what the message actually reads. The apparent message being don't try if you think you can't I want everyone to disregard that entirely and leave your choice in what instrument you want play entirely up to you, what I meant to deliver was a brief synopsis of what sort of instrument might suit you, and my geographical error was definitely not intentional as I had some mad recollection of the southern American states being central america not southern north america, again my apologies. I don't know if I can play piano.. SO it's not worth trying. What a bunch of nonsense, if you want to learn something the learn it.
    Read the whole sentence. you misunderstood
    Jyrgen
    This article probably has good intentions but no clue of the genres of music it discusses at all.
    DeanRedneck
    Really? Choose your instrument based on how much attention you want? When first picking up an instrument, from you are years from being on stage (if ever).